Matt Gill, PhD

Associate Professor
Department of Molecular Medicine
Florida Campus


Scripps Research Joint Appointments

Faculty, Graduate Program

Other Joint Appointments

Affiliate Research Assistant Professor, Center for Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, Florida Atlantic University

Research Focus

Aging is the single most important factor determining the onset of human disease in developed countries.  With current demographic trends indicating that the number of individuals over the age of 65 in the US will rise from 35 million in the year 2000 (13% of the total population) to 70 million in the year 2030 (1 in 20) it is clear that an understanding of the processes that underpin aging and age-related disease represents a key challenge in the biomedical sciences.  

In recent years there have been huge advances in our understanding of the aging process and many of these have stemmed from genetic analysis of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans). These studies have identified endocrine signaling pathways conserved between worms and mammals that include receptors whose endogenous ligands are small, lipid-derived hormones that cannot be identified by genetic approaches alone.  These hormone pathways are also tractable drug targets and thus the identification of small molecule regulators of their activity could lead to rational drug development for aging and age-related disease.  Given the conservation of aging pathways between species, this approach is likely to open up new therapeutic avenues for combating human aging and age-related disease. 

My lab uses an interdisciplinary approach that combines chemical screens, analytical chemistry, biochemistry and genetics to identify small molecule regulators of aging in C. elegans and determine their molecular mechanism of action.  Using this approach we have recently identified a group of lipid signaling molecules called N-acylethanolamines (NAEs) in the worm, one of which shows similarity to mammalian endocannabinoids and affects nematode lifespan by modulating pathways involved in nutrient sensing and dietary restriction.  Endocannabinoid pathways in mammals are well known to be involved in nutrient sensing and energy balance but a role in the aging process has not yet been demonstrated.  The discovery of NAEs and endocannabinoids in C. elegans not only provides a means of further investigating the role of these important signaling molecules in lifespan determination but also brings a powerful genetic system to the study of NAE physiology.


Ph.D. (Endocrinology), The University of Manchester, 1997
B.Sc. (Biochemistry), Newcastle University, 1993

Professional Experience

2017-2018 Assistant Professor, Molecular Medicine, Scripps Research
2011-2017 Assistant Professor, Metabolism and Aging, Scripps Research
2007-2011 Assistant Research Professor, Buck Institute for Research on Aging
2004-2007 Staff Scientist, Buck Institute for Research on Aging
2002-2004 Brookdale National Fellow, Buck Institute for Research on Aging
1998-2001 Medical Research Council Training Fellow, The University of Manchester

Awards & Professional Activities

1998 - Medical Research Council Research Fellowship
2002 - Brookdale National Fellowship

Selected References

All Publications

Burd, C.E., Gill, M.S., Niedernhofer, L.J., Robbins, P.D., Austad, S.N., Barzilai, N. and Kirkland, J.L., Barriers to the Preclinical Development of Therapeutics that Target Aging Mechanisms, J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2016 Nov; 71(11):1388-1394. Epub 2016 Aug 16; PMID: 27535964 PMCID: PMC5055650 DOI: 10.1093/gerona/glw112

Lucanic, M., Garrett, T., Yu, I., Calahorro, F., Asadi Shahmirzadi, A., Miller, A., Gill, M.S., Hughes, R.E., Holden-Dye, L. and Lithgow, G.J., Chemical activation of a food deprivation signal extends lifespan., Aging Cell. 2016 Oct; 15(5):832-41. doi: 10.1111/acel.12492. Epub 2016 May 24, PMID: 27220516 PMCID: PMC5013014

Reis Rodrigues, P., Kaul, T.K., Ho, J.H., Lucanic, M., Burkewitz, K., Mair, W.B., Held, J.M., Bohn, L.M., Gill, M.S., Synthetic Ligands of Cannabinoid Receptors Affect Dauer Formation in the Nematode Caenorhabditis elegans., G3 (Bethesda). 2016 Jun 1;6(6):1695-705. DOI: 10.1534/g3.116.026997, PMID: 27172180 PMCID: PMC4889665

Harrison, N., Lone, M.A., Kaul, T.K., Reis Rodrigues, P., Ogungbe, I.V., Gill, M.S.,  Characterization of N-acyl phosphatidylethanolamine-specific phospholipase-D isoforms in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans., PLoS One. 2014 Nov 25;9(11):e113007. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0113007. eCollection 2014, PMID: 25423491 PMCID: PMC4244089

Kaul TK, Reis Rodrigues P, Ogungbe IV, Kapahi P, Gill MS. Bacterial fatty acids enhance recovery from the dauer larva in Caenorhabditis elegansPLOS One 2014 9(1):e86979, PMID: 24475206 PMCID: PMC3901721 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0086979

Katewa SD, Demontis F, Kolipinski M, Hubbard A, Gill MS, Perrimon N, Melov S, Kapahi P. Intramyocellular fatty-acid metabolism plays a critical role in mediating responses to dietary restriction in Drosophila melanogaster.  Cell Metab 2012 16(1):97-103, PMID: 22768842 PMCID: PMC3400463 DOI: 10.1016/j.cmet.2012.06.005

Lucanic ML, Held JM, Vantipalli MC, Klang IM, Graham JB, Gibson BW, Lithgow GJ, Gill MS. N-acylethanolamine signalling mediates the effect of diet on lifespan in Caenorhabditis elegans. Nature 2011 473 (7346):226-9, PMID: 21562563 PMCID: PMC3093655 DOI: 10.1038/nature10007

Comment in
De Petrocellis L and Di Marzo V. Cell signaling: Why fasting worms age slowly. Nature 2011 473(7346):161-3

Benedetti MG, Foster AL, Vantipalli MC, White MP, Sampayo JN, Gill MS, Olsen A, Lithgow GJ. Compounds that confer thermal stress resistance and extended lifespan. Exp Gerontol 2008 43(10):882‐91, PMID: 18755260 PMCID: PMC2603168 DOI: 10.1016/j.exger.2008.08.049

Held JM, White MP, Fisher AL, Gibson BW, Lithgow GJ, Gill MS., DAF‐12‐dependent rescue of dauer formation in C. elegans by 25S‐cholestenoic acid. Aging Cell 2006 5(4):283‐91, PMID: 16913876 DOI: 10.1111/j.1474-9726.2006.00218.x

Gill MS, Held JM, Fisher AL, Gibson BW, Lithgow GJ. Lipophilic regulator of developmental switch in Caenorhabditis elegans. Aging Cell 2004 Dec;3(6):413‐21, PMID: 15569358 DOI: 10.1111/j.1474-9728.2004.00126.x

Gill, M.S., Olsen, A., Sampayo, J.N., Lithgow, G.J. An automated high‐throughput assay for survival of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. Free Radic Biol Med. 2003 35(6): 558‐65, PMID: 12957648

Barreto‐Filho JA, Alcantara MR, Salvatori R, Barreto MA, Sousa AC, Bastos V, Souza AH, Pereira RM, Clayton PE, Gill MS, Aguiar‐Oliveira MH. Familial isolated growth hormone deficiency is associated with 4 increased systolic blood pressure, central obesity, and dyslipidemia. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2002 87(5):2018‐23, PMID: 11994335 DOI: 10.1210/jcem.87.5.8474

MS Gill, V Tillmann, JD Veldhuis & PE Clayton. Patterns of GH output and their synchrony with short‐term height increments influence stature and growth performance in normal children. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism 86:5860‐3, 2001, PMID: 11739452 DOI: 10.1210/jcem.86.12.8116

S Melov, J Ravenscroft, S Malik, M Gill, D Walker, P Clayton, D Wallace, B Malfroy, S Doctrow, G Lithgow. Extension of lifespan with superoxide dismutase/catalase mimetics. Science 289: 1567‐1569, 2000

MH Aguiar‐Oliveira, MS Gill, ES de A Barretto, MRS Alcântara, F Miraki‐Moud, CA Menezes, AHO Souza, CE Martinelli, FA Pereira, R Salvatori, MA Levine, SM Shalet, C Camacho‐Hubner, PE Clayton. Effect of Severe Growth Hormone Deficiency due to a Mutation in the Growth Hormone Releasing Hormone Receptor on the Insulin‐like Growth Factors (IGFs), IGF Binding Proteins and Ternary Complex Formation Throughout Life. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 1999, 84:4118‐4126

ES de A Barreto, MS Gill, MH Aguiar‐Oliveira, CA Menezes, AHO Souza & PE Clayton. Serum Leptin and Body Composition in Children with Familial Growth Hormone (GH) Deficiency due to a Mutation in the Growth Hormone‐Releasing Hormone (GHRH) Receptor. Clinical Endocrinology, 1999, 51: 559‐564

MS Gill, NKS Thalange, PJ Foster, V Tillmann, DA Price, PJ Diggle & PE Clayton. Regular fluctuations in growth hormone (GH) release determine normal human growth. Growth hormone & IGF Research, 1999, 9:114‐122

MS Gill, CM Hall, V Tillmann & PE Clayton. Constitutional delay in growth and puberty is associated with hypoleptinaemia. Clinical Endocrinology, 1999, 50:721‐726

MS Gill, AA Toogood, J Jones, PE Clayton & SM Shalet. Serum leptin response to the acute and chronic administration of Growth Hormone (GH) to elderly subjects with GH deficiency. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 1999, 84:1288‐95

MS Gill, AA Toogood, PA O'Neill, MO Thorner, SM Shalet & PE Clayton. Urinary growth hormone (GH), insulin‐like growth factor (IGF)‐I and IGF binding protein‐3 measurements in the diagnosis of adult GH deficiency. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 1998, 83:2562‐2565

MS Gill, AA Toogood, PA O'Neill, JE Adams, MO Thorner, SM Shalet & PE Clayton. Relationship between growth hormone (GH) status, serum leptin and body composition in healthy and GH deficient elderly subjects. Clinical Endocrinology, 1997, 47, 161‐167, PMID: 9302388

PE Clayton, MS Gill, CM Hall, V Tillman, AJ Whatmore & DA Price. Serum leptin through childhood and adolescence. Clinical Endocrinology, 1997; 46: 727‐733

MS Gill, AJ Whatmore, V Tillman, A White, GM Addison, DA Price & PE Clayton. Urinary IGF and IGF binding protein‐3 in children with disordered growth. Clinical Endocrinology, 1997; 46: 483‐492

NKS Thalange, PJ Foster, MS Gill, DA Price & PE Clayton. Model of normal prepubertal growth. Archives of Diseases in Childhood, 1996; 75: 427 ‐ 431

NKS Thalange, MS Gill, L Gill, AJ Whatmore, GM Addison, DA Price & PE Clayton. Infradian rhythms in urinary growth hormone excretion. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 1996; 81: 100‐106


Department of Metabolism & Aging

“Nematodes reveal the secret to a long life”

“New pathway affecting lifespan identified: Discovery advances study of diet and longevity"

Scripps Researcher identifies new pathway affecting lifespan